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M1 Carbine as Defensive Rifle?

7503 Views 42 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  G-man*
I'm familiar with them..shot my buddy's quite a bit 20+ yeas ago, but wondering if defensive ammo selection(a HP type round possibly?)has gotten better and who makes a quality rifle these days? THANKS!:smile:
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I think it would be a great defensive firearm. Handy, light, and with a good cartridge...short range, but more than adequate for home defense.

M1 Carbines - Forums
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As a defensive rifle? No. As a defensive carbine, used in it's proper role? YES. Lots of folks on here use them for HD.

For a small framed person they would be a great choice. <--- about SD ammo for .30 carbine.
I'm unaware of any HP loadings of the .30 Carbine round, but the major ammo brands all make JSPs. I think it's a fine tool for home defense!

bcmcgilvray needs to jump in here with his comments on the HD use of the M1 carbine!
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Thanks gents !
With either Remington 110 grain soft points or handloads using Sierra's 110 grain soft point, Sierra Bullets - The Bulletsmiths , handloaded to factory velocity specs., the M1 Carbine is a nasty customer out to 150 yards or so. Though I've taken one to the deer woods, I've never been fortunate enough to take a deer with the M1 Carbine but my dad, uncle, and cousins made some use of it back in the 1960s/1970s and all said it was fine. At any rate deer came home in the back of the pickups. A brother-in-law has taken 5 deer with the M1 Carbine at ranges to near 100 yards with perfect satisfaction. All were good hits. Shot placement helps but that is true with any cartridge. I've used an M1 Carbine nearly all my life in the field on various other varmints and critters and it's highly effective on anything up to large feral dogs.

I've owned an M1 Carbine for many years and been around several more for even longer and the little rifles are stubbornly reliable. For an afternoon of high-volume plinking, the M1 Carbine has soldiered on where the ARs began to choke and hark, in my experience. For an alternate opinion our own jonconsiglio is the treasured and respected expert of all things AR 15 here on the Forum and could reasonably disagree with my observations. I'm only a casual AR 15 user. I do take the M1 Carbine seriously.

I've tried some various hollow point component bullets sold for the M1 Carbine but couldn't determine that they were any more effective than the soft nosed bullets and the hollow points gave uneven feeding in some Carbines I've played with. My Carbine feeds them perfectly for instance and my dad's Carbine does not. I've also tried a lighter weight bullet, the old Speer 100 grain soft nosed Plinker at enhanced velocities but this didn't really "set the woods on fire" for terminal ballistic performance in the Carbine and accuracy was unimpressive. Went the other direction and tried 125 grain .30 caliber hollow point bullets made for the .30-30 with dismal results. It's hard to beat the 110 grain soft point for use in the M1 Carbine. While we're at it, the 110 grain fmj round nose has surprising penetration. The M1 Carbine isn't quite the pip-squeak that it's been rendered both in print and on forums in more recent times.

For home defense, the M1 Carbine is more compact and easier to handle within the confines of a household than the AR 15 in my view though the only AR 15 around here is a Colt SP-1 rifle. The shorty ARs might be more handy. I've mostly gone off pistol grips on rifles and have determined that I just don't really like them. Folks have long made claims about various pistols having "pointablity", that is being able to point, shoot, and hit with no more effort than pointing one's finger. For me the M1 Carbine is the only long arm that has this unique ability. It's balance and stock configuration, though too short for me, still mounts naturally and points on target.

The M1 Carbine is one the rifles of choice around here, standing ready for use at all times when we are home.

I like the M1 Carbine better than the AR 15. If I need more range or punch than a .30 Carbine then I'll reach for a "real" battle rifle. I promise you though that I'm the minority opinion on this subject.
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For a thorough study of the M1 Carbine, it's .30 cartridge, and real life testimony on its effectiveness against assailants do a search on "Jim Carillo M1 Carbine" and read his books and views on use of the rifle on the old stake-out squads on which he served in New York City back in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
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For a thorough study of the M1 Carbine, it's .30 cartridge, and real life testimony on its effectiveness against assailants do a search on "Jim Cirillo M1 Carbine" and read his books and views on use of the rifle on the old stake-out squads on which he served in New York City back in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Funny you should mention Jim Cirillo...his "Tales of the Stakeout Squad" is on my self right now. I also shot an FBI Tactical Pistol Course in 2005 with his old partner(and President's Hundred)Bill Allard. He shot the whole course with a Colt 1911 NM he used at Camp Perry while the rest of us had our duty 9mm and 40's...and I still wouldn't want to be in his sights! These guys used M1 Carbines,double barrel shotguns and the old NYPD standby, Ithaca 37 to supplement their Model 10 Smiths and Bill's 1911. Suffice it to say that Bill was a funny dude with some fantastic(and true)stories plus inside info on what happens to people when actually shot in real-life encounters. On page 31 Jim comments positively on the unit's use of the M1 Carbine...

"It turned out that anybody that was hit with it,even if they weren't hit in the vitals,got dropped.We had one guy was hit in the thigh,and ran outside,his leg broke, and he fell."
For the record they were shooting Winchester 110 grain at about 1800-1900 fps.

Seems the M1 did it's job !!:smile:
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"I also shot an FBI Tactical Pistol Course in 2005 with his old partner(and President's Hundred)Bill Allard."

Is that cool beans or what!
For me, the M1 Carbine is an excellent choice for a shorty semi-auto rifle with more punch than a pistol-caliber cartridge.

I much prefer it over the AR-15 and AK-47 platforms, from a handling and ergonomics/interface standpoint. The one I've had has been a tad finicky, though I'm sure one of the well broken-in USGI examples with proper magazines would clear that up nicely. Good round, great capacity, easy to use, short for easy navigation in tighter spots. Mine has been extremely accurate, out to well beyond 100yds.

Ditto on the above comments about a "proper" M1 Carbine cartridge, for self-defense.
I kinda have a soft spot for the 7.62X39 cartridge. Only have a single SKS around here to fit it.
Bryan, what do you think the chances are of a guy (or gal) serving a sentence for second degree murder, being allowed to develop one of the most prolific guns of WWII, in prison, would be today? :wink:

With all the PC crap we have today, he'd probably be thrown in the hole just for saying the word "gun."
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At least Williams was put to work doing something productive. What are the real chances of the average convict furthering the cause of the civilized world in this day and age. Is there any chance? Of course David Williams may have been "one in a million" back then too and it's doubtful that a lot of beneficial ideas developed in the prisons of bygone times.
At least Williams was put to work doing something productive.
And as it turns out, he was very damned good at it to boot. :wink:
I really like the M1 Carbine and it's cartridge close-in. If I could get hold of one other than the one I inherited from my grandpa, I would happily keep it bedside.
The M1 carbine is our main defensive gun and it is what I have as our bug-out rifle.

I currently am using Federal Power-Shok in my carbines but have used other brands of SP including PRVI with good results.

I have found that the M1 carbine is one of the most natural pointing guns that I have ever shot. It's low recoil, durability, high capacity and natural point-ability make it easy to train new users. I am planning on having one for my entire family.

Hardwood Room Bookcase Floor Wood
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My opinion is that the M1 Carbine is a very good self-defense rifle, I actually own a cheap copy of the Military version.

It is light, weighs in at just under 8lbs stuffed with a 30 round magazine, it is short, less than 20", and is an easy point-and-shoot rifle with very low recoil. The .30 Carbine cartridge has been compared to the .357 Magnum in power.

It does have it's limitations however, and has been ridiculed for ineffective stopping power due to usage in Korea against waves of Chinese soldiers and their padded uniforms. Yet, they made millions of Carbines, and were a favourite of the Germans in WW II who captured them and actually used them against American forces. The South Vietnamese Army was equipped with the Carbine until they got the M-16. Many South American countries armies used the rifle as well as Police and Sheriff departments in the U.S. until it was replaced by the M-16/AR-15.

I would use my Carbine with no hesitation in any self-defense situation.
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Within the distance it was designed to operate the M1 carbine is a fine little rifle. It is not a battle rifle. It is a 100 yards or less personal defense weapon. The whole point was to make a light weight carbine that gave longer range capability and higher capacity than a pistol for troops who were not front line combat units. It does that very well.

It does not engage targets at 200 yards well. The cartridge just does not have the energy to do much once it gets there.So if your likely engagement envelope is longer than a football field this is not the rifle for you. However if you are looking for a 50 yard and in lightweight decent capacity rifle then you could do much worse.

With modern ammo (like Corbon DPX or CCI God Dots) the M1 carbine makes a fully functional, light weight, "PC" looking home defense rifle. The lack of recoil makes it a natural for women and children to be able to shoot and even the GI 15 round mags have a decent capacity. It also penetrates soft armor which could be a plus in a "home invasion" type scenario. Would it be my 1st choice to go to battle with? No. But it would be FAR from my last choice.

Now from an economics standpoint, 30 carbine ammo is more expensive than .223. And a decent AR can be found for just a bit more than an original M1 carbine. Khar (auto ordnance) makes one now and can be found in the $650 to $750 price range, but I have heard mixed reports on them. But if you already have one you can "upgrade" it cheaper than buying an AR (or AK for that matter). In fact taking the M1 you already have and adding an Ultimak forend and an Aimpoint H1 or a trijicon RMR you can upgrade the old gun to something a bit more modern and with better optic cheaper than going out and buying an AR with an optic.

If "all I had " was an M1 carbine for home defense I'd not feel outgunned for 99.99% of the likely problems I'd be faced with.
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There are many headstones scattered around Europe, numerous islands in the Pacific, Korea and Viet Nam that will attest to the defensive capability of the M-1 Carbine.
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Like folks before me have said, I'd much prefer a "carbine-caliber" carbine than a pistol-caliber carbine. Of course, I also don't expect my home to be over-run by hundreds of thousands of zealous, densely-insulated Red Chinese infantry troops. It's high capacity, reliable, durable, light-weight, accurate & powerful powerful enough. What's not to like?
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